Hot House: 1603 Bolton Street, Baltimore MD 21217
Victorian townhouse, circa 1900, brick with wood trim. Three thousand six hundred sq. ft. over three levels, partially finished English basement. Structurally sound, new roof, plumbing, plaster, needs cosmetic work. Four bedrooms, 2 full and 2 half baths. Downstairs kitchen, renovated 2012 with original cast iron stove. Original architectural details include whole house skylight, mirrors, staircase, pocket doors, plaster moldings, marble fireplace mantles, hardwood floors throughout. Small garden with room for 2 car parking pad. No central a/c: $537,000
What: Calling all dreamers. You know who you are –readers of Circa and Old House Dreams, Extreme Home Makeover fans, pit bull rescuers. This house is for you. It comes with a fun and well-documented history. It was built on spec as part of a row of elegant homes by one George P. Frick at a time when North Avenue marked Baltimore City’s northern boundary. (Frick was a prominent Baltimore merchant who also built the Beethoven on Park Avenue, and was unrelated to the industrialist and art collector Henry Clay Frick.) The home at 1603 was a wedding gift to Frick’s daughter. As a result, it has some high-end finishes that other houses in the row do not. In 1920, the home was bought by the McConkey family. They lived there for nearly a half century. At one time, it was occupied by four generations of the family. Souvenirs of the McConkey era include (but are not limited to) a vintage piano with a bullet hole from when a drunk McConkey uncle fired at a mouse running across the keys. There is a stunning Gothic staircase in Cuban mahogany and walnut, rising like Jacob’s ladder from the dark wood-paneled entrance hall. A large and sunny front room upstairs has three huge windows and a marble fireplace. Outside is a charming, slightly overgrown garden. The seriously bizarre downstairs “pub,” complete with ropes and ancient animal heads, has been “preserved.” It could be a deal-maker or a deal-breaker, depending on whether or not you are Hannibal Lecter.
Where: Bolton Hill is one of Baltimore’s most-loved neighborhoods. It features, elegant, wide, tree-lined streets, beautiful architecture, history, a welcoming group of eclectic and interesting neighbors, and proximity to MICA and Penn Station. Recently, the Park Café and Coffee Bar has been added to the list of Bolton Hill hangouts, which include B Bistro and On The Hill Café. The home at 1603 is just a block from B Bistro, a fine Bolton Hill address.
Why: You fell in love with the house the minute you walked in the door. You’re ready for a big, all-absorbing creative project and won’t begrudge the time and money it will take to turn it around.
Why Not: Your marriage/partnership is not strong enough to withstand years of hard, relationship-taxing decisions, i.e., European vacation vs. new bathroom. Original dark woodwork vs. let’s paint-it-all- white. Chrome fixtures vs. polished nickel…
Would Suit: Visionary married to realist.
NB: Much of the high Victorian décor — fringed velvet curtains, etc. — will almost certainly be for sale, if that’s the way you want to go.
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